Expect a July decision on 2020 season

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

At their meeting this week the Management Committee once again discussed the chances of arranging any competitive bowling in 2020. Members were very pessimistic about any team competitions being played at all this season. After discussions it was agreed that members expect to be in a position for the next meeting (13 July) to be able to make a definite decision on the League programme for 2020.

The factors against such a move keep mounting up. As well as the unknown relaxation timetable of the lockdown rules, there is the problem of how social distancing can work in practice. It seems that social distancing is going to be around for a while yet. When three pairs matches are playing on some of our smaller greens such as my club at Kirkheaton Con which has the smallest green (38m x 28m) in Yorkshire then it is really difficult to see how a match can be staged whilst observing these rulings.

Then there is the problem of bowlers sharing cars to matches. That isn't going to work. On top of that, there is the anticipated reluctance of bowlers to return to normal practice too soon. The recent website poll on bowler's views on a resumption of League bowling showed that less than half of the 106 responses said that they would definitely play for their team in any League fixtures this year. Losing that number of bowlers would make it impossible for many teams to function at all.

Any restrictions of contact are going to be in place longer for the Over-70's which means that would further reduce the player pool without including those bowlers with underlying health conditions or having family members with health problems. It was a recurring concern in the website poll that members were very worried about taking an infection into their homes for others to suffer.

It is clear that if the decision on the future of the 2020 League programme was to be taken today then the outcome would be an end to speculation with the cancellation of the season in total but the Management Committee is loath to give up on the season until it is impossible to do anything else. Something big needs to happen before the 13 July meeting to influence and change that thinking.

The one opportunity to salvage anything from the season could come in the form of running an individual competition. The Management Committee are keen to hold the prestigious Rose Bowl as it would be the 50th consecutive season of staging our top individual competition. That would depend on bowler's reaction to opening up the event. Then it would be down to individual bowlers as to whether they enter or not. But again the feeling is that something must change in the current restrictions to allow this to go ahead.

July 13 will be make-your-mind-up time and regardless of how much we all want to bowl it is difficult to envisage a situation developing that will enable us to do that. We live in hope for that big thing to come along that will change everything for us.

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